Are you making the most of reading with kids? There are four simple things you can do to give your child a good foundation for connecting to books. Check out my tips and let me know what you would add. I get commissions for purchases made through the affiliate links in this post.
4 Tips for Making the Most of Reading with Kids
Read to your kids everyday.
Develop the habit as soon as they are born. Babies benefit from having books read to them, too. They are learning sounds and words and developing a beginning vocabulary all by listening to you. Check out our favorite books for babies. They also love books that they can touch. We love the Usborne Touchy Feely Books series especially any of the That’s Not My… books.
Toddlers are continuing to work on their vocabulary. Reading books to them helps them listen to you say different words. They love books with animal sounds and objects from their environment (cars, boats, and other noisy things.) Check out our list of 12 great animal sound books for toddlers next. Read with feeling. Books are a great way to model expressions and emotions.
Make reading a part of bedtime and/or naptime to guarantee you’ll have a reading time everyday. Continue reading to your kids as they get older even after they can read to themselves. This models fluency. You read the book correctly, without hesitation, and with expression. It sounds lovely when you read. It comes across as natural. Beginning readers often struggle with having a good flow and sometimes they stumble on words. It takes practice to get it right. Having a good model helps them become more confident.
Read Aloud 15 Minutes is an organization that has some great parent handouts about the benefits of reading to kids at various ages. They talk about how your child is communicating (hearing, understanding, talking), what you can do, and why reading aloud is important.
Connect to the books through play.
Provide opportunities to retell and recreate the books through pretend play. Make a storytelling basket based on one of you favorite books. See our Goodnight Moon Storytelling Basket here. Encourage your child to act out the story.
Join a book club.
Start a book club with kids in your area or join a book club online. Our Virtual Book Club for Kids chooses a book to read each week. We then complete related activities (projects, crafts, recipes, etc.) based on the theme of the week. It’s a great place to gather ideas to go along with books.
Use books to teach.
Choose a book your child loves and create a learning activity to go along with it. Using characters your child connects with helps them get excited about the activity. This is true at home or in the classroom.
Does your child love Dr. Seuss? Try one of these fun math activities that go along with Dr. Seuss books. Does your child love trains? Read Donald Crew’s Freight Train and use it to practice colors and letters. This works for chapter books, too. Are you a fan of the Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro? Try this food science experiment inspired by Dragons and Marshmallows?
Reading to your child will create lasting memories and foster a love for books and reading on their own. Here’s to making the most of reading with kids!
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Post updated September 13, 2017. Originally published March 1, 2013.